Dynamic Web services key to ICT success


  • Business
  • Monday, 04 Aug 2003

STORIES By STEPHEN BOEY IN LAS VEGAS

AN EVOLUTION is sweeping the enterprise landscape as businesses, having come to depend on information communications technology, demand that information – whether voice, data or video – be made available in an integrated manner on demand. 

However, the greatest challenge of on-demand computing is not the new technologies, Computer Associates Inc chief technology officer Yogesh Gupta believes. 

Yugesh Gupta

It is improved management of technology, so that existing systems can mesh, and function, with new technologies that emerge. 

The key is development of dynamic Web services, he declared in a technology keynote to CA World 2003, the company's annual user conference and showcase, in Las Vegas last month. 

“We will evolve from a software perspective to a services-oriented architecture. This is where integration will go. The device can be a large computer or a cell phone, but the user must be able to do whatever he or she wants with the device.” 

CA's approach, he said, was to deliver comprehensive management solutions for today's infrastructure, as “in our world, technologies never go away”. 

Outlining how CA was helping to deliver on the promise of emerging technology, he said the three keys to improved management were advances in infrastructure, storage and server utilisation. 

Development of a uniform data network, he averred, was key to the evolution of improved management. 

“Today, we take the IP (Internet protocol) network for granted. IP is the foundation, and standardisation increased its utilisation,” Gupta said. Surfing the World Wide Web would not be possible without IP standardisation. 

“Voice-over-IP (VoIP) networking is taking place. This is absolutely happening. The network must come together, then the devices must come together, and we will get to the point where VoIP will come together,” he pointed out, adding that related to this was the building of a wireless infrastructure that would make the type of device irrelevant. 

The second big challenge, he said, was storage, and the industry today was in the middle of shifting storage from individual systems to networks. 

“Storage networking now is at the same stage as data networks were 10 years ago – it's a mess,” said Gupta. “I think there'll be order, but it needs standards.” 

The third piece, server virtualisation, he declared, was not just an IT problem but also a business decision. 

And, according to CA chairman and chief executive officer Sanjay Kumar, business, too, has a part to play to make on-demand computing a reality.  

There has to be a fundamental shift in the way business looks at IT infrastructure, he told StarBiz in an interview. “Business cannot think about computing in silos, or work in pieces. It has to think about the whole thing together.  

“If business thinks this department is this, and that department is that, and there are 10 departments and each department has computers, then of course they can't share; they can't get the benefit of on-demand computing. Business has to think about the bigger picture.  

“Sometimes, this is not an easy change for business, especially the larger enterprises – although for medium-sized companies it would be much easier. Some big corporations have divisions and departments all organised in different ways. That's a big hurdle. 

“Next, I think, the business applications need to be more conducive to change. Business applications today take a lot of time to implement and it is not easy to move them around.  

“We need some changes in those things to make them much more flexible, so you can move them from computer to computer dynamically. Today it is not so easy.” 

The shift to service level driven computing – where customers start to price hardware and software based on consumption – would be another big change. 

“When those things start to happen, we'll be starting to go down the right path,” he said. 

In the evolution towards on-demand computing, CA announced in Las Vegas four new management solutions which complement six other on-demand management solutions announced in April:  

·BrightStor Process Automation Manager, a new product for automating the allocation and provisioning of storage resources across multiple platforms in response to business demands;  

·eTrust Vulnerability Manager, an innovative asset-based vulnerability management appliance that provides the monitoring capabilities and security intelligence required to automatically pinpoint vulnerabilities that threaten the integrity of enterprise IT environments;  

·Unicenter NSM Option for VMware Software, a new product for monitoring virtual machine environments on Intel-based Linux and Windows platforms and determining when additional resources are needed to fulfil service level requirements; and,  

·Unicenter NSM Dynamic Reconfiguration Option, for managing and dynamically provisioning VMware virtual machines as needed.  

Tying all this together will be CA's revolutionary technology in the making – Sonar – which enables a complete understanding of the on-demand infrastructure and its impact on the business, said Sanjay.  

“Sonar brings business relevance to IT management by performing advanced root-cause analysis, assessing the business impact of any infrastructure failure, and pinpointing critical security issues and their causes. 

“At its core, on-demand computing is a management issue. It's not about hardware, operating systems, or business applications. It's about how to make all these components work together in a highly adaptable way. 

“With Sonar and our on-demand management solutions, CA is fully empowering customers to make on-demand computing a reality, regardless of the underlying server, storage, or operating system platforms they have in place – something no other company can do.” 

Sonar watches and analyses traffic on the network, and understands more than 1,700 protocols and information sources. It builds accurate maps and keeps those maps updated as resource allocations change. Using advanced analytics, Sonar also automatically detects inappropriate network traffic and usage. 

“We have to make it easier to do all this because, if the future is about flexibility – and the future's really about flexibility – we have to manage infrastructure based on end-to-end business processes, not as islands of technology,” Sanjay said. 

“We are the leaders in management software, so we see more problems than any other company. We see what issues the customers are having in deploying. And we know that customers are having a more difficult time in understanding how the infrastructures mesh.  

“The CA approach is to leverage existing solutions, use demand solutions for complete on-demand computing and do it reliably, repeatedly, efficiently and safely through automation.” 

And for the small- and medium-size enterprises, which have no ability to manage – nor the inclination for managing – complex IT systems, CA will take versions of Sonar technology and package these into solutions targeted at that market. 

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